for this game

Blackhawks score early and often, blank Capitals

Mar 20, 2008 - 4:53 AM
By Rory Spears PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- On the night that "Tony-O" was back in the building, so was the Chicago Blackhawks' offense.

In dire need of a victory to keep alive their flickering playoff hopes, the Blackhawks scored four times in the first period and Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves en route to a 5-0 triumph over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Jason Williams, rookie Jonathan Toews, Yanic Perreault and Patrick Sharp tallied in the game's opening 18 minutes for Chicago (35-32-7), which climbed within seven points of the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

"The key to the game was us getting off to a great start," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "It was a big two points and it was a great night to get a win."

Rene Bourque also scored and Robert Lang recorded a pair of assists for the Blackhawks.

Olaf Kolzig turned aside 37 shots for the Capitals (36-31-8), who had their four-game winning streak snapped and remained two points behind the idle Philadelphia Flyers (36-28-10) for eighth in the East.

"This time of year when we are playing for a playoff spot, we can't get off to a start like this," Kolzig said.

Prior to the game, Chicago honored Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposito, who has rejoined the organization along with fellow Blackhawk legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita as ambassadors.

The Blackhawks fed off the energy in the United Center as Williams opened the scoring at 1:27 of the first. Defenseman James Wisniewski fired a slap shot from the right point that Williams deflected past Kolzig.

The play was reviewed as Williams had his stick at a waist-high level, but the goal was upheld, giving the center his 12th of the season.

"(Washington) came in here a very hot team," Williams said. "We knew we had to get off to a great start, and we did. It was nice for us to get a shutout on a night where the goaltender was being honored."

Toews doubled the advantage on the power play at 3:19, stuffing in the rebound of fellow rookie Patrick Kane's shot for his 21st tally. Kolzig initially protested the tally, arguing that he was interfered with.

"The first goal was a deflection and the second one, I thought Toews interfered," Kolzig said. "Then I saw on the replay that he got pushed into me."

Perreault made it 3-0 at 9:14, and Sharp completed the big period with 2:06 remaining, tapping Andrew Ladd's rebound past Kolzig for his 35th of the campaign.

Bourque capped the scoring at 10:19 of the middle period, beating Kolzig on a breakaway.

The offensive support was more than enough for Khabibulin, who turned aside six shots in the first period, eight in the second and 11 in the third for his second shutout of the season and 38th career. The Russian was making his first start since February 20.

Capitals center Brooks Laich almost ended Khabibulin's shutout bid with 2:58 left, but the goaltender made a spectacular diving save to prevent the goal.

"It's great to get a shutout since Tony has the NHL record for shutouts," Khabibulin said. "My save at the end of the game was me getting beat on the play, so my move was desperation and the puck went right in my glove. I'll take it."

Kane recorded one assist, giving him 63 points this season. The 19-year-old leads Washington's Nicklas Backstrom by two points for the scoring lead among rookies.

"I think at the end, everyone was passing the puck to me to get another point," Kane said. "Going head-to-head with Backstrom, it was nice to get those passes."

Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin, who entered the game with a league-leading 58 goals, remains two shy of becoming the first player to reach 60 since Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr accomplished the feat in 1995-96.

"We made our team aware of him," Savard said. "Give the credit to (Brent) Seabrook and (Duncan) Keith, they did a nice job on him."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0
    CHICAGO 4 1 0 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - JASON WILLIAMS 12 (JAMES WISNIEWSKI, ROBERT LANG) 1:27
    CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 21 (PATRICK KANE, BRENT SEABROOK)
    3:19
    CHI - YANIC PERREAULT 8 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 9:14
    CHI - PATRICK SHARP 35 (ANDREW LAD

    Mar 19 11:16 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0
    CHICAGO 4 1 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - JASON WILLIAMS 12 (JAMES WISNIEWSKI, ROBERT LANG) 1:27
    CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 21 (PATRICK KANE, BRENT SEABROOK)
    3:19
    CHI - YANIC PERREAULT 8 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 9:14
    CHI - PATRICK SHARP 3

    Mar 19 10:22 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO 5
    2ND PRD: CHI - RENE BOURQUE 10 (JASON WILLIAMS) 10:19

    Capitals 0, Blackhawks 5  2nd - 9:41Mar 19 10:07 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 0
    CHICAGO 4 4 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - JASON WILLIAMS 12 (JAMES WISNIEWSKI, ROBERT LANG) 1:27
    CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 21 (PATRICK KANE, BRENT SEABROOK)
    3:19
    CHI - YANIC PERREAULT 8 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 9:14
    CHI - PATRICK SHARP 3

    Mar 19 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO 4
    1ST PRD: CHI - PATRICK SHARP 35 (ANDREW LADD, DAVE BOLLAND) 17:54

    Capitals 0, Blackhawks 4  1st - 2:06Mar 19 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO 3
    1ST PRD: CHI - YANIC PERREAULT 8 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 9:14

    Capitals 0, Blackhawks 3  1st - 10:46Mar 19 9:10 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO 2
    1ST PRD: CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 21 (PATRICK KANE, BRENT SEABROOK)
    3:19

    Capitals 0, Blackhawks 2  1st - 16:41Mar 19 9:01 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO 1
    1ST PRD: CHI - JASON WILLIAMS 12 (JAMES WISNIEWSKI, ROBERT LANG) 1:27

    Capitals 0, Blackhawks 1  1st - 18:33Mar 19 8:57 PM
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